By Gerrick D. Kennedy
7:39 PM EDT, October 17, 2013
In some nondescript boardroom at ABC, a room full of suits sat around mulling ideas for potential holiday specials. At some point came this pitch: “All the kids love Lady Gaga, and everyone loves the Muppets -- so how about the two cozy up together? Ratings will surely go through the roof.” Then they all high-fived and the sucker who cooked up the idea was promoted.
OK, it didn't go down exactly like that exaggeration, but there’s a gaggle of misinformed folks out there who think the world will enjoy spending Thanksgiving night watching Gaga preen and purr tracks from “Artpop,” alongside cute, felt-covered anthropomorphic animal puppets in a wholly self-aware attempt at irony.
For those who are willing to take a break stuffing their faces full of turkey and trimmings and who aren’t spending the evening plotting how to shame the nation by killing one another for Black Friday door-buster deals, ABC will debut “Lady Gaga & the Muppets’ Holiday Spectacular.”
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The 90-minute special offers “an avant-garde twist on the classic holiday variety show as Lady Gaga goes backstage with the Muppets, making a performance dream come true for the multi-platinum singer-songwriter when they combine forces to sing holiday favorites and Lady Gaga hits.” That description alone should make those DVRs light up with record speed.
"I was so excited when ABC called me about doing a holiday special this year,” Gaga said in a statement. “I knew it just wouldn't be a complete night of laughter and memories without the Muppets! Can't wait to see the gang again and I hope Miss Piggy's still not mad about Kermit. We're just friends!"
Kermit, whoever operates the guy these days, even had this to say: “What an incredible opportunity! We have a long history with Ms. Gaga, so we jumped at the chance to do a holiday special with her. We won’t even mind if she mistakes some of the Muppets for pieces of her wardrobe — again.”
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This isn’t the singer’s first holiday spectacle for the network. In 2011, she anchored “A Very Gaga Thanksgiving” inside her old elementary school. She wore less-outlandish than usual ballgowns; deemed “White Christmas” too short and added another verse; sat down with Katie Couric; did arts and crafts with third-graders; and made deep-fried turkey and waffles with celebrity chef Art Smith. It was very weird, and gloriously awful.
So what can viewers expect this time around?
Gaga and Kermit will duet, the Muppets will join her for a rendition of “Artpop” single “Applause,” and there will be collaborations with Elton John, Joseph Gordon-Levitt and the fiercest mother of all, RuPaul. Muppet lovers will also swoon as Swedish Chef, Beaker and Animal perform special renditions of holiday staples such as “Deck the Halls” and “Jingle Bells.”
Here’s some unsolicited ideas for Gaga on how to tackle her new tracks. She should perform the R. Kelly-assisted "Do What U Want (With My Body)” dressed in a gown made of pine cones and mistletoe. Animal, Gonzo and Rizzo the Rat can tackle T.I., Too Short and Twista’s verses on "Jewels N' Drugs," and Miss Piggy can drop in for a medley of “Swine” (way too easy), “Donatella” and “Fashion!”
The holiday special wouldn’t be true without serving its real purpose: heavy promo tie-ins. There will be a sneak peek at Disney’s 2014 flick “Muppets Most Wanted,” which features Gaga “in a spectacular cameo performance.” And expect a ton of references to “Artpop,” which we can almost guarantee will be one of those door-busters that a hip mom will fight some teenager for.
“Lady Gaga & the Muppets’ Holiday Spectacular” airs Nov. 28 at 9:30 p.m. -- or just wait for the many, sure to be amazing GIFs to hit the Internet the next morning.
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